Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Poland’s Stunning Electromobility Plans

The Polish government has adopted a new law on electromobility aimed to turn Poland into an e-mobility leader in Europe.  The country wants to have 1 million EVs on the road by 2025.  Already home to electric bus manufacturing plants and a big EV battery plant, Poland is set to become the motor for electrifying transport in Europe.  “We are really pioneers”, says Marta Gajęcka, Head of Energy Advisors to the President of the Republic of Poland, in an exclusive interview with Energy Post.

At first glance Poland seems like an unlikely candidate to become an industrial powerhouse based on electric vehicles.  The country had only 324 public charging stations available in 2016, compared with around 7,000 in the UK.  About 1,068 EVs were sold in 2017, up from 556 in 2016.  Contrasting with this apparently unpromising start, the Electromobility Development Plan adopted by the Polish Council of Ministers in 2017 plans for one million EVs on the road by 2025.

Earlier this year, new legislation in the form of the ‘Act on Electromobility and Alternative Fuels’ was approved by lawmakers, setting out the legal framework for Poland’s EV ambition.  “There are not so many countries who are putting e-mobility forward as a central component of policy, we are really pioneers in this way,” says Marta Gajęcka, Head of Energy Advisors to the President of the Republic of Poland, in an interview with Energy Post.  “Electrifying transport has the potential to enable  cheaper and more reliable access to mobility.  Electro-mobility forms a central component of the EU’s ambition to decarbonize its economy in line with the Paris Agreement ,” she adds.

A building permit will not be required for charging stations or charging points.  Nor will the charging of electric vehicles be regarded as a sale of electric energy under existing legislation

“It’s also closely connected to energy security and reducing dependence on oil imports,” says Gajęcka.  Poland is almost entirely dependent on imported oil, most of which comes from Russia (76% in 2017, down from 96 % in 2012), to meet transport demand.

Charging as a service
Cleaner air is also a motivating factor:  Poland is among the many Eastern European countries struggling with severe air pollution.  On 22 February 2018, the European Court of Justice concluded that Poland had failed clean air obligations and infringed EU law (for PM standards).  Gajęcka comments: “Air pollution is a big problem, especially in urban areas. Transport is of course a factor, but energy poverty in terms of home heating is a serious problem. People use poor quality fuels to heat their homes and this is a big contributor to smog.  We are working on new measures to cope with poor quality fuel use as well as with energy poverty. Electrifying transport is one of many steps towards solving the problem.”

The new Act is the first set of rules in Poland on electrifying transport and is intended to promote electromobility and alternative fuel vehicles. It transposes a key European directive [Directive 2014/94/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2014] on the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure.
Unlike other European countries such as Norway, there is no grant incentive for EV take-up. However, the Act does provide for the abolition of excise duties on electric vehicles, no property taxes for charging points, the use of bus lanes for electric cars and free parking in cities.

Read more at Poland’s Stunning Electromobility Plans

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